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News digest: 7 May 2013

Albania to crack down on terrorism financers (SETimes.com): "Every country in the Balkans has access to two UN lists that provide the names of individuals, groups and entities associated with financing al-Qaeda, but Albania has gone a step further and will compile its own local lists of alleged businesses and individuals that might support terrorism"

AUSTRIA: New study shows trust in Austrian Justice increases (Austrian Times): " The Federal Ministry of Justice has published a follow up study entitled "Confidence in the Austrian Justice 2013" by Fr.MMag.Dr.Sophie Karmasin. The aim of the study, a follow up to the 20111 study, was to analyse and depict the Austrian population’s view of the Austrian justice system and to assess people’s changes of attitudes towards the justice system since the end of 2011"

BALKANS: Former Yugoslav nations tackle extremism in sports (SETimes.com): "Organisations, teams and officials across the region are working to curb nationalistic extremism among sport fans through improved awareness of the dangerous intersection of extremist ideologies and sports"

BALKANS: Law enforcement re-examines Islamic groups in the Balkans (SETimes.com): "Unidentified Islamic groups in the Balkans have sent threatening messages to foreign diplomats, military and political representatives as well as to the international missions serving in the region, prompting law enforcement to re-examine numerous Islamic groups, security analysts said"

BELARUS: Selling Schengen visas to Belarussians (Belarus Digest): "On 12 April, Filip Kaczmarek, the chairman of the European Parliament Delegation for relations with Belarus, stated that the EU can make Schengen visas more available for ordinary Belarusians even now. MEPs often say good things but unfortunately they have little real power to implement them"

Croatia opens new border crossings with Bosnia (Balkan Insight): "Two new border crossings between Croatia and Bosnia will ease traffic between the two neighbouring countries as well as meeting EU standards"

CZECH REPUBLIC: Counter-intelligence: Czech far right busy with internal feuds (Prague Daily Monitor): "Far-right extremists were mainly involved in internal disputes, which surfaced at the election congress of the Workers' Party of Social Justice (DSSS), the Czech counter-intelligence service (BIS) said in its report on the extremist scene in the first three months of the year"

CZECH REPUBLIC: Justice minister protests Hasenkopf's statements on amnesty authorship (Prague Daily Monitor): "Lawyer Zdenek Koudelka did not help draft the controversial New Year presidential amnesty as an employee of the Czech Justice Ministry, Justice Minister Pavel Blazek (senior government Civic Democrats, ODS) told radio yesterday." See also: Lawyer hands evidence on amnesty authorship to Zeman; Justice minister may sue lawyer over New Year amnesty; and Klaus's aide: New Year amnesty drafted by ministry

CZECH REPUBLIC: Minister to propose end of sCards for welfare payment (Prague Daily Monitor): "The Czech cabinet recommended that Labour and Social Affairs Minister Ludmila Muellerova (TOP 09) start taking legislative steps to scrap the project of electronic social cards (sCards), Prime Minister Petr Necas (Civic Democrats, ODS) said after a cabinet meeting Thursday"

DENMARK: Freedom of information law to be evaluated after three years (The Copenhagen Post): "Government bows to increasing public pressure over new freedom of information law that is feared will decrease Denmark's democratic transparency"

EU-US: Next step in the EU - US cooperation on Cyber security and Cybercrime (text of speech by Cecilia Malmström, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs); see also: Statewatch Journal: "Tackling new threats upon which the security and prosperity of our free societies increasingly depend:" the EU-US Working Group on Cyber Security and Cyber Crime

EUROPE: Thousands join Madrid May Day protests (BBC News): "Thousands of people have joined May Day protests in central Madrid to voice their concern about the high rate of unemployment and the government's austerity measures." See also: Greeks stage 24-hour anti-austerity general strike (BBC News); Thousands protest against Greek government's austerity measures (The Independent); Thousands rally against austerity in Europe to mark May Day (Ekathimerini); Police clash with May Day crowds in Turkey (The Independent); Istanbul march clashes mar May Day in Turkey (BBC News) Labour Day demonstrators demand shared wealth (swissinfo.ch)

FINLAND: Police officials suspected of illicit prying (Helsinki Times): "Illicit prying of police officers into information has become a frequent headache of prosecutors"

FRANCE: Thousands of leftist supporters march through Paris in protest over Hollande's first year (The Independent): "Tens of thousands of supporters of leftist parties marched through central Paris today to express disappointment with President Francois Hollande’s first year in power, criticizing the leader for reneging on his promises to rein in the world of finance and enact economic stimulus"

France’s far right shows its strength on May Day (France 24): "The National Front held its annual May Day rally in Paris on Wednesday, with the far-right party currently ahead of President François Hollande’s Socialists in the latest polls"

French police arrest six ETA suspects (France 24): "France’s Interior Minister Manuel Valls said the police arrested six suspected members of the Basque separatist group ETA on Tuesday, in three southern France towns. ETA is considered a terrorist group by the European Union and the United States"

German court adjourns neo-Nazi case until May 14 (Spiegel Online): "Germany's biggest neo-Nazi trial opened on Monday in the glare of the media as the main defendant, neo-Nazi Beate Zschäpe, faced charges of complicity in a spate of racially motivated murders. But in the sign of how drawn-out the trial is likely to be, it was adjourned after her lawyers claimed the judge is biased." See also: Plaintiffs question state's role in NSU murders and A series of missteps preceded the NSU trial (Deutsche Welle); Neo-Nazi Nuremberg: Germany forced to confront its dark side (The Independent); Hopes pinned on NSU trial may be dashed and The Making of a neo-Nazi (Spiegel Online); and Who are the defendants in the NSU trial? (Deutsche Welle)

'Germany fooling itself in battle against neo-Nazis' (Spiegel Online): "The series of racist murders perpetrated by the neo-Nazi terror trio National Socialist Underground represents a massive failure on the part of German law enforcement officials. But as the trial starts on Monday, editorialists say that German society is also to blame." See also: Head of domestic intelligence urges watchfulness (Deutsche Welle)

GERMANY: CDU: Zero tolerance for terrorism sympathizers (The Local): "Germany’s Christian Democrats are planning to include in their election programme a proposal to criminalize terrorist sympathizers, Die Welt reported"

GERMANY: Protests against right-wing Pro NRW remain peaceful (Deutsche Welle): " The images are burned into local memory: A year ago, a demonstration by the right-wing Pro NRW group ended in violent clashes between police and Salafist protesters in Bonn. This year, the demonstrations were peaceful"

GREECE: Almost 600 inmates at Larissa Prison go on hunger strike over conditions (Ekathimerini): "Inmates at Larissa Prison went on hunger strike on Tuesday in protest at the conditions of their detention"

GREECE: American Jewish Committee slams Golden Dawn's bigotry, racism ahead of Samaras visit to US (Ekathimerini): "The American Jewish Committee has slammed Golden Dawn for its «bigoted, xenophobic worldview» after the party posted a message on its website criticizing Prime Minister Antonis Samaras for attending AJC's Global Forum next month"

GREECE: Athens police stop food handout by Greek far right (BBC News): "Police in the Greek capital Athens have stopped the far-right Golden Dawn party from handing out free food only to Greeks on the city's main square." See also: Far-right Golden Dawn MP Giorgos Germenis hits 12-year-old girl in attack on Athens mayor Giorgos Kaminis over Greek-only food handout (The Independent); Golden Dawn deputy attacks Athens mayor [update with video] and Athens mayor vows to prevent Golden Dawn handing out free food in Syntagma Square (Ekathimerini)

GREECE: Coast Guard finds 40 undocumented migrants on Samothrace beach (Ekathimerini): "Coast guard officers picked up 40 undocumented immigrants on the northeastern coast of Samothrace on Tuesday, taking to almost 90 the number of migrants found there in the past few days." See also: Police intercept migrant smugglers in northern Greece (Ekathimerini)

GREECE: Golden Dawn’s rise worries government (Ekathimerini): "Top government officials are concerned that the coalition is not going to be able to stop the steady rise of far-right Golden Dawn ahead of next year’s European Parliament elections and are examining the possibility of changing the law to outlaw extremist parties of its ilk." See also: Greece seeks stringent penalties for racist crimes (Ekathimerini) and Greece will go after racists, xenophobes (Greek Reporter)

GREECE: Migrants arrested as part of Xenios Zeus (Ekathimerini): "Police in central Athens arrested 59 migrants as part of a crackdown on undocumented immigrants code-named Xenios Zeus during the April 20-April 26 period"

Greek police officer suspended after allowing inmates to escape (Ekathimerini): "A disciplinary council on Thursday suspended a police officer after finding him guilty of violation of duty after two female immigrants escaped from custody in 1998 and another two were injured in their attempt to flee"

Hungarian defense minister calls for upgrading of nation’s arsenal (Politics.hu): "Hungary will have to invest in rearmament as its military technology, save the Gripen jet fighters, will become totally obsolete in ten years, the defence minister told business daily Vilaggazdasag on Monday"

HUNGARY: Big increase in number of asylum-seekers in Hungary (Politics.hu): "The number of asylum-seekers in Hungary during the first quarter of 2013 surpassed the total number registered last year, national daily Magyar Nemzet said on Monday"

HUNGARY: Blurred faces as Google cars return (The Budapest Times)

HUNGARY: Police initiate probe into leftist marchers wearing red star (Politics.hu): "Pécs police have ordered an investigation after several people wore the red star on their clothes at the May 1 march organised by the Hungarian Workers Party 2006 and the Green Left Wing"

HUNGARY: Record turnout for March of the Living reflects antisemitism fears (The Budapest Times): "Between 10,000 and 12,000 people gathered for the March of the Living (Élet menete) on Sunday in commemoration of the 600,000 Hungarian victims of the Holocaust. The march, now in its 11th year, is estimated to have gathered more than double the usual turnout with numbers fuelled by concern over growing antisemitism and racism"

HUNGARY: The shadow of anti-semitism falls on Europe once more as Hungary's far-fight Jobbik party protests against World Jewish Congress meeting in Budapest (The Independent): "The Hungarian government struggled to counter allegations of institutionalised anti-Semitism on Sunday after the country's far-right Jobbik party staged a mass rally in the capital Budapest in protest against a meeting of the World Jewish Congress (WJC) in the city"

Italian politician accused of ‘shameful racism’ (The Independent): "A senior politician has hit out at racist remarks aimed at the country’s first black minister by a member of the anti-immigrant Northern League party." See: Italian MEP makes racist comments about first black minister; Racist attack on Minister Kyenge found on Padua school wall; and 'Proud to be black' says Kyenge after slurs (Gazzetta del Sud)

ITALY: Afghan migrants rescued off Calabrian coast (Gazzetta del Sud): "Italian coast guards on Thursday rescued 43 Afghan immigrants off Capo Dell'Armi, in the southern region of Calabria. The group included 16 children, a baby, 11 women, one of whom is pregnant, and 15 men"

ITALY: Egyptian beaten to death in Rome street (Gazzetta del Sud): "An Egyptian was beaten to death by two men in the EUR district of Rome Thursday night. The man, 49, died of his injuries in hospital Witnesses said his attackers were "two Romanians"."

ITALY: Facebook pictures help police identify suspected robbers (Gazzetta del Sud): "Pictures posted on the social network Facebook led to the arrest of four members of an alleged criminal gang in Sicily on Friday by helping police with identification. Investigators compared video surveillance images with photos the men posted on their Facebook profiles"

ITALY: Integration minister criticizes immigrant detention centers (Gazzetta del Sud): "Comments by recently appointed Integration Minister Cecile Kyenge that she wants Italy's immigrant detention centers shut down sparked fierce reaction from the right of the political spectrum. In comments during a RAI3 news talk show on Sunday, Kyenge also said she will work on repealing a law passed during ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's administration making clandestine immigration a crime, and will back giving automatic citizenship to children born on Italian soil of immigrant parents"

Italy's prisons third most overcrowded in Europe (Gazzetta del Sud): "Italy's jails are the third most overcrowded in Europe behind Serbia and Greece, the Council of Europe said Friday. There are 147 inmates for every 100 beds in Italy, the 47-nation human rights organisation said, compared with a European average of 105." See: Justice minister says inmate suicide must be addressed (Gazzetta del Sud)

Kosovo and Serbia mull EU deal action plan (Balkan Insight): "Pristina and Belgrade delegations hold their second meeting in Brussels on Tuesday to discuss implementing the EU-led agreement on normalizing relations"

Macedonia deepens regional military co-operation (SETimes.com): "Macedonia is taking a proactive role to foster regional military co-operation, sending a positive signal on security and Euro-Atlantic integration efforts, experts said"

'Malta could trigger the next European crisis' - Le Monde (Malta Independent): "French daily Le Monde has raised the alarm on Malta’s economy, saying that it is likely to trigger “the next European crisis.”"

MALTA: Information ‘raising more questions’ to be handed to authorities (Malta Independent): "Belgian MEP Bart Staes and French colleague José Bové, from the European Greens, today will be meeting local authorities including police commissioner Peter Paul Zammit, as part of their fact finding mission on the controversial circumstances surrounding the resignation of John Dalli from European Commissioner last October"

MALTA: Muscat pledges ‘much closer’ ties with Libya (Malta Independent): " Prime Minister Joseph Muscat pledged to develop much closer ties between Malta and Libya in an interview with a Libyan newspaper published this week"

MALTA: Report shines light on murky process of becoming a citizen (Times of Malta): "They might speak Maltese, qualify as “suitable citizens” of “good character” and have lived here for years. But foreigners hoping to become naturalised Maltese citizens can throw their applications out the window if they happen to get on the Home Affairs Minister’s bad side"

Montenegro discrimination council backs LGBT straetgy (Balkan Insight): "The Anti-Discrimination Council of Montenegro unanimously supported a draft Strategy for improving the quality of life of LGBT persons in the country"

NETHERLANDS: Asylum seekers go on hunger strike at Schiphol airport (Dutch News): "Nineteen asylum seekers in detention at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport have gone on hunger strike, according to a justice ministry spokesman, but no official comment has been made about their reasons." See: Detained asylum seekers go on hunger strike at Schiphol airport (The Amsterdam Herald) and All but two Schiphol asylum seekers give up their hunger strike (Dutch News)

NETHERLANDS: Deportee released from jail by mistake (Dutch News): "Police in Alphen aan den Rijn are hunting for a man who was accidently released from jail when he should have been handed over to immigration police to be deported"

NETHERLANDS: Dutch police may get right to hack in cyber crime fight (BBC News): "The Dutch government has announced plans to give police far greater powers to fight cybercrime. Under a new bill, investigators would be able to hack into computers, install spyware, read emails and destroy files." See also: Minister to clamp down on computer crime, sanction Skype taps (Dutch News) and Netherlands: Dutch proposal to search and destroy foreign computers (Statewatch News Online)

NORTHERN IRELAND: Additional G8 security cameras go up around Fermanagh (Impartial Reporter): "Additional security cameras have been erected in Fermanagh as the Police Service of Northern Ireland increases its safety measures for the G8 summit in a few weeks." See also: WWII base to be used for G8 police (Fermanagh Herald); PSNI say vehicle share for the G8 (Impartial Reporter) More money for big summit spruce-up and Learner drivers forced to ‘give way’ to Obama and co (Fermanagh Herald)

NORTHERN IRELAND: Concerns about NI’s treatment of immigrant detainees to be raised with UN (The Detail): "Serious concerns have been raised about the human rights record of Northern Ireland’s main holding centre for immigrant detainees."

NORTHERN IRELAND: Forensic flaws question whether criminal justice agencies are fit for purpose (The Detail): "Flaws in forensic evidence are again at the centre of a major criminal trial. But the handling of the Massereene murder hunt and subsequent trials appear to raise serious concerns about the performance of the police, prosecution service and forensic science to deliver justice for both the victims and the accused."

NORTHERN IRELAND: Mother claims brain damaged son failed by prison service (The Detail): "The mother of a man who was severely brain damaged after hanging himself in Maghaberry Prison has claimed the Northern Ireland Prison Service is not doing enough to ensure the safety of its inmates."

NORTHERN IRELAND: MI5 allegedly applies for secret court session after IRA informant sues for being denied protection (Irish Independent): "British intelligence agency MI5 has allegedly applied for a controversial secret court hearing after being sued by a former IRA mole who claims he has been denied medical treatment after being shot in a reprisal attack"

NORWAY: NATO tops to Norway to talk High North and remember (The Foreigner): "Anders Fogh Rasmussen and other senior NATO staff are in Norway for combined WWII commemorative and current security events this week"

POLAND: Police question 60 in 'Polish Breivik' case (The News): "Sixty people have been questioned by police regarding a Polish academic who allegedly planned to blow up Poland's lower house of parliament"

Slovenia would rent Falcon to NATO (The Slovenia Times): "Defence Minister Roman Jakic( believes that by registering the Falcon jet as a military aircraft and making it available to NATO and the EU, Slovenia would save a lot of money. By being parked in a hangar, it costs the taxpayers EUR 500,000 a year, he said today"

SPAIN: Man dies after hospital refuses him treatment because he was foreign (Think Spain): "An immigrant who had lived in Spain for eight years has died of tuberculosis after being refused medical treatment because he did not have a health card"

Spanish security forces differ over ETA’s continued ability to strike (El Pais): "ETA is finished and will never be revived; ETA is inoperative, wounded, but may retain the ability to act; ETA is merely hibernating and could carry out an attack. These are the three conclusions presented to Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy by the heads of the three main security forces in Spain at a meeting in mid-April"

SWEDEN: No probe into Stockholm police's 'racial profiling' (The Local): "Sweden's Justice Ombudsman (JO) announced on Monday it will not investigate the alleged racial profiling carried out by Stockholm police in the city's public transit system during a push to deport illegal immigrants"

'Swedish lobbyists have a culture of transparency' (The Local): "Following revelations that one-in-three Swedish politicians or top political aides go on to consult for Swedish lobbyists, The Local speaks with industry spokeswoman Anna-Karin Hedlund about how the Swedish landscape differs from other countries"

SWITZERLAND: Asylum seekers housed where eagles dare (Inter Press Service): "Struggling to accommodate all its asylum seekers, Swiss authorities have turned to unused army quarters. Some of these lie on mountain passes, far away from inhabited areas"

UK: Protest treated as anti-social behaviour (Netpol): "Powers given to the police to deal with anti-social behaviour are increasingly being used to gather information on participants in political protest." See also: Your rights and section 50 Police Reform Act

UK: Scotland Yard let staff ‘resign to avoid justice’ (The Independent): "Nearly a third of the 274 officers and staff were allowed to quit before conclusion of hearings despite serious allegations"

UK: Secret imprisonment, rule of law and legal aid under attack - the human rights roundup (UK Human Rights Blog): "Not a particularly noisy week on the human rights front, but some interesting summaries and analyses. The House of Commons Library has compiled a summary of UK cases before Strasbourg since 1975, as well as on the prisoner voting issue. Some commentary on the issue of secret justice, in particular the role of the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, and the powers of the court of protection in contempt proceedings"

UK: 'Stop and search just isn’t working’ (The Justice Gap): "‘It was a lonely experience,’ said Hughes Cousins-Chang , describing being strip-searched and held in custody for over 12 hours, without being allowed to contact his mother"

UK: Water cannons on standby for summer riots (Sunday Express): "Home Secretary Theresa May is said to be in favour of their deployment by police for the first time outside of Northern Ireland amid fears of summer riots"


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